Saturday, March 24, 2012
Why Does God do this?
Praise and despair. They seem to come together, like peanut and butter, lox and bagels, dogs and vet bills, oy and vay. You just can't have one for long without the other. Yesterday started out with despairing news, but ended with triumph. Late last night we learned that my wonderful daughter-in-law, Karissa, made the finals, the top 4 of her entire law school class in the Moot Court contest. Just being in law school is a feat.... to rise to the top in such an elite group is amazing. I won't share the coinciding despairing news, but it really knocked the wind out of the sails of a loved one.
I spent the day begging God. I begged him to spin the world backwards, spin it like in the Superman movie when Lois Lane dies, so that the action is reversed. If Superman, a mere created being, albeit from the powerful Krypton race, could do it, surely God could! And I know God can...but in this case, at least thus far, He hasn't.
So if He will not be reversing time, then all that is left is to move forward as best one can, even maimed and discouraged. I have many times been in the "slough of despond", when I really believed not only that it was impossible to climb out, but that I didn't even want to anymore if I could. It would be easier to slide beneath the muck and just go to sleep. Life is filled with challenges that slam us at times with the force of a spiked metal cudgel. The future looks bleak and there doesn't appear to be any point in staying the course anymore. But because at those times, most of us have no choice but to crawl out and stumble on, that is what we do. And I have found that new opportunities I had never envisioned suddenly materialized before me, and choices I couldn't even dream of one day making, then changed the course of my life.
Why does God do this to us? When Abraham was told by God to bind and sacrifice his only son Isaac, the son he had longed for and then been granted late in life, I imagine he was feeling pretty hopeless. He would not have been human not to have felt grief, despair, desire to flee, to find a way out, to disobey this odious command. But what God seemed to be building in Abraham was the strength to trust God, NO MATTER WHAT. This story disturbs me more strongly than any other story in the Bible. For years, I rebelled against God, partially because I could not serve a God who would ask such a thing of so frail and tender a being as a parent with such an ingrained and powerful instinct to protect one's progeny. Why would God do that to him?
I really cannot answer that, not fully. However, I have seen enough times in my life now what happens when I trust God through the very hard things in life. I see Him work miracles that may not have been what I thought I wanted, but in the end, were often what I needed. Chiseling character is not an easy task. Sometimes the Sculptor needs a very strong hammer, and must pound large chunks away to reveal the beauty lying in wait, imprisoned in the stone of a hard and recalcitrant heart. If the stone had feelings, it would hurt as badly as I hurt as the pieces shatter around me. But in the end, when it is completed, it will be magnificent.
Trust me, is what I think He is saying, even when it hurts beyond my ability to bear. It would be easier to spin the world backwards, just like Superman did, but then no one is moving forward, no one is becoming what time, experience, and the future will one day reveal. There is something better in front of us. Trust Him.
Psalm 56: 1-4, 13
Be merciful to me, my God,
for my enemies are in hot pursuit;
all day long they press their attack. My adversaries pursue me all day long;
in their pride many are attacking me. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me? For you have delivered me from death
and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God
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